The winter has been harsh. It's been cold, and gray, and unpleasant for everyone. Spring is breaking, but... so are people. Did you know that April & May, statistically, are the highest suicide months of the year? Most people assume it's the middle of winter, the Holidays, things that remind them of being alone. But it's the spring, the end of winter, and birth of a new season that seems to bring a tragic end to so many lives. But, why? What is the rationale behind this?

Some studies claim that maximum peak sunlight during the spring season trigger a psychological effect causing people to lose their will to live. There's a theory, or at least hypothesis, that suicide is more likely during an intermediate phase as depression abates. When depression is "over" people generally feel an incentive to live. But when depression is at a maximum people also are not likely to commit suicide because of extreme lethargy, lack of ability to focus on a suicide plan, and so on. Obviously these factors depend on the individual kind and depth of depression. In any event, in the intermediate phase between these two times there is plenty of energy and ability to focus. And the person may not be optimistic or patient for continued recovery as they "should" be.

Hence the "counter-intuitive" pattern. And it would fit in well with seasonal change for those affected by it.><

"APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain."

— T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

There has been another loss. As my friend Cheryl is going through her grief, another family is mourning the loss of a loved one. A co-worker, but albeit, not a close co-worker, committed suicide this week. I've spoke with him on many occasions over the years, but never had the opportunity to meet him in person. There are 10 divisions where I work, and he was stationed in Florida. My first instinct is to question why, and what would drive a person to do this.

But, unfortunately I know that answer. Maybe, all too well.

At some time in a persons life, the thought of ending it all crosses our minds. For some, it's just a fleeting thought that is quickly brushed away, and is not thought of again. For others, especially those that by psychology standards are "damaged" - consider this notion quite frequently. It's methodical, and planned. Some just use the thought and the planning process as their means of deflating - then there are those that set the plan in motion. Below, this is something I have never shared publicly.

Somewhere between theatre class and finding out that the person who sexually abused me my entire childhood had died - a part of me died inside. I wasn't sad that this person had passed away. I was more angry that I never had justice, or even the support of people who were supposed to protect me before this persons death. I harbored a lot of anger, and resentment - and that resentment came out in very ugly, and destructive ways. For years before my "break down" I was what people call a self injurer. Self injury, for me, was not about killing myself. It was an unhealthy way for me to escape emotional trauma that I was not able to handle. Physical pain was easier to deal with than the war that was going on inside my head over what I had lived through, the consequences of speaking out about the abuse, and the aftermath of living with the belief that I single-handedly destroyed my family unit - creating a world where I was the bad guy, not the person who was actually responsible for years of terror and hell in my life.

I have also lived the last 20 years of my life believing I should not ever discuss this out loud with anyone because it would be shameful and throw a bad light on my family.

Not talking about this - Not bringing to light the events in my life that have so deeply scarred me in ways I can't begin to describe - is exactly what led to my decision to stop everything at 19.

Now, let me be clear about something. My family loves me to the moon and back. They never MEANT to hurt me, they never INTENTIONALLY tried to hurt me or make me feel like I was not a victim in this. It has, however, taken me years to come to peace with that. At 19, I wasn't ready to make nice. I wasn't ready for making peace. I was angry. I was volatile. I was destructive. And I was in pain. And I just wanted it all to STOP.

I don't remember what I did.

What I remember is making a choice. I remember that choice was: I am done with this life. I am ok with being done with this life. I love my family, but I need to do this for me, to be at peace.

Everything after that is a blur. I remember my parents getting me from college. I remember being admitted to Dartmouth Hitchcock medical center for a psychotic break. I remember being on suicide watch - and having my shoe laces, nail clippers, and every other item they deemed dangerous taken away from me. I remember having to check in every 15 minutes with the receptionist to ensure I was still alive. I remember a team of doctors coming in to my room with interns, and asking me if it was ok that the interns observe our "meeting". I remember writing in my journal - poetry mostly - about death, about life, about living in pain. In that time, I was misdiagnosed as having boarder line personality disorder, along with depression and anxiety issues. When I was 22, I was correctly diagnosed with D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder). I was placed on Risperdol, Clonapin, and Celexa. And in all honesty, they made me feel disconnected and zombie like.

After being released from the hospital, I went through group therapy. The people I met while there, were incredible. There was one girl in particular - that I connected with the most. She was one of the saddest people I've ever met, but one of the most beautiful people - inside and out. She didn't think so. She had a hard life. Then there were the people who were there because they were forced to be there. The people who chose to harden themselves.

When I was 19, I wanted to die.

I no longer feel that way about myself. I am grateful that I came through that period in my life. I don't know that I will ever be "over" what I lived through. I don't think someone really recovers from that. I still struggle with depression, which ranges from not dealing fully with my past, to weight & self image issues, as well as severe anxiety. But, it's manageable. And I feel that life is worth living every deliriously happy, and painfully sad moment.

Without great grief, there can not be great joy.

I chose to live every moment. And I don't regret a thing.

But I do feel that there needs to be more people lighting up the dark. There needs to be more support and awareness for suicide, and depression, and anxiety disorders. Sometimes the people who smile the brightest are in the darkest of places. Be a beacon for people. Be a person that someone can come to and say "I am in pain, and I need help".

I can't say enough good things about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I've used this in the past, and they are there to help, not judge. If you or someone you know needs help, please, give them the information for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - it's safe, it's confidential, and it can save a life.


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